The truth behind teenage pregnancy
By Treszka Tio Oliveria
I found out I was pregnant when I was only 19. I saw two red lines and immediately felt cold even though I was sweating. Hundreds of questions ran through my mind in just a minute—what would my (then) boyfriend say? What would my parents say? Do I want this? Can I handle this? Will I still go to school? What will happen to my dreams? Etc. I was uncertain. It took me a lot of prayers to know what my heart’s real desire was—to raise my child.
Mark, who was still my boyfriend back then, was very quiet. He would only make signals, a few deep sighs, and hums, and mutter “I do not know.” It was evident that he was hesitant, and I knew it would be hard to be with a guy who is only half way in, a man who would do it just for the sake of doing the right thing. So, I kept quiet and held my tears and emotions back. I lifted the situation up to the Lord. I wouldn’t want him to say yes out of pity; I wanted him to say yes because it was something he would want to do his entire life.
When I broke the news to my parents, it shattered my mom’s heart. Honestly, I was prepared to take a slap from her. But my mom, being the loving woman that she’s always been, was very calm. Initially, she was appalled and became very distant. I humbled myself by telling her how much I needed her, that I couldn’t do it without her. I knew what the world would say, but knowing my mom would protect me made me feel secured. When I told her how I felt, she immediately put her pain aside and true enough, alongside my dad, we fought the battle together. They helped me every step of the way.
When people ask me how I made it, I can’t always find one definite answer. When I was pregnant, I felt terrified, especially of judgments and the fear of not being able to continue pursuing my path. I cried a lot; I cried to the Lord. My pregnancy has brought tremendous changes in my life. I decided to let the Lord use me and my failures for His glory. I read the Bible every day, and all my decisions were always guided by Him—from spilling the news to my husband and parents to deciding to get married and live independently. I believe He touched the hearts of all the people around me and prepared them for an upcoming blessing. Mark’s family and mine both extended all the support they could give us. They loved us amidst the heartbreak we had given them.
I was blessed enough to be married to a man who loved being a father and a husband. But the reality of early pregnancy is that it requires financial stability. At such a young age where we are still pursuing our own dreams, we need to have funds to be able to raise a child. We didn’t want to ask for anything from our parents, but whenever we needed assistance, we never had to speak, blessings just came. It was a real struggle what we had to go through—putting our wants aside, balancing lifestyle, and learning how to handle finances. Again, we lifted this up to God and prayed for another blessing. Months later, He answered our prayers. We started a small business that would provide for the basic needs of our daughter. Of course, when God’s blessings come, we make sure to exert our own share of hard work. We work hand in hand with the Lord.
Judgment was also a big thing for me. I talked to my husband about it for months. I wanted to defend myself so badly, but I didn’t know what to say. I just cried and prayed. I know that the Lord could handle my worries, so I left my trust in Him and learned to stop trying so hard to prove people wrong. I just lived my life and served my husband and my daughter with pure love. As the pregnancy progressed and I was starting to feel her alive in me, the happier we became. Each passing day was a grace from God and that grace and happiness just radiated around us. People saw that. They witnessed God’s works in our lives and the sincerity of the love and joy we had. I didn’t have to fight these battles anymore. The love God had for us and the love we had for each other silenced them.
The first time I laid my eyes on my daughter, Taziana, I cried. She was so beautiful and looked exactly like the man I love. I was really in awe of this wonderful gift and creation from God. All the challenges I faced suddenly felt so worth it.
I am a lot happier now than I used to be. I looked back at how I lived my life then and realized that I didn’t really know what true love and genuine happiness meant. I only existed. I didn’t know what exactly I was living for. I kept searching for love and happiness in different places. I searched for them in wrong relationships, online games, unpleasant friendships and toxic habits—none of which filled my heart. I would always go to bed feeling empty, and when the sun rose, I would try so hard to fill that emptiness again. It was a forlorn cycle.
There are many things I see now that I have failed to see before. First is God’s grace. I never knew He loved me this much; I never knew about His plans for me; I never knew what it meant to be saved by The Savior. During my pregnancy, I opened up my heart to Him, and He transformed it. He used my broken heart for His glory, used my story to reach out to thousands of young moms, and helped them see that life does not end here. Who knew that God could actually make a piece of art out of nothing?
Second, I have learned the value of family. I grew up preferring to be independent. I liked doing things alone. I liked being in a dorm, away from my family. I liked doing my own thing. I never really enjoyed it when others touched my life. But, the trials I faced showed me that the world I knew could turn its back on me, one thing that my family could never do. I cannot put into words how much love my family, especially my mom, has given me. I had broken their hearts, yet they worked so hard to help me mend mine. I didn’t have to explain anything to the rest of them; my Tatay did all that for me. Even my husband’s parents supported us even though they were far away. Until today, they work very hard to help me reach my dreams and even in raising my daughter. These are the things that I can never thank them enough for.
Lastly, I have learned that love and happiness cannot be found out there; it starts from within. It starts with your relationship with the Lord, the love and respect for your roots, and truly knowing yourself.
I want to be successful. I want to graduate, give back to our parents, and be able to provide for my daughter and myself. I want to know more people and share my heart with them even more. We want to continue serving God by serving others. The life we have today is all for God’s grace. For us, this is the definition of a successful life: having enough to be able to share with others and being able to touch their hearts and lives. A successful life isn’t always luxurious but a meaningful one.
My life is still an unfinished work of art. I am still a young girl pursuing my dreams and at the same time, a woman raising a family. It’s still a challenge that requires hard work, but life doesn’t end here. Every day, we all get a chance to decide how we are going to live our lives. I chose to move forward and walked the path God had set for me. I am no longer a slave of my past mistakes, and every single day, God is constantly giving me a chance to be better than I was yesterday.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).” ZH